Biodiversity patterns in Antarctic Dry Valleys

ScienceDaily | 3/20/2019 | Staff
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"Surprisingly, we found that biotic, or living, interactions are crucial in shaping biodiversity patterns even in the extreme ecosystems of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. Antarctic soils are model ecosystems, limited by the extreme climate and lack of vascular plants, and they host simple food webs with few species," said Barrett, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science.

These findings were recently published in two separate papers in Communications Biology. A paper on biotic interactions analyzes the entire community of soil organisms; its companion paper focuses on the soil nematode community using a modeling approach.

Characteristics - Antarctic - Communities - Food - Webs

Characteristics of Antarctic communities, such as simple food webs and low species richness, allow for a greater understanding of the whole community, from bacteria to multicellular invertebrates.

This research is the product of an international collaboration of scientists from half a dozen countries: the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and South Africa. Organized by the University of Waikato and the New Zealand Antarctic Program, it is the first of its kind to study a soil community in its entirety at a regional scale.

Barrett - Research - Antarctica - Years - Research

Barrett has been conducting research in Antarctica for 20 years; he deployed for this research collaboration in 2009 and 2010. Research in the Barrett lab addresses the influences of soils, climate variability, hydrology, and biodiversity on biogeochemical cycling from the scale of microorganisms to regional landscapes.

"My research in the Antarctic has been focused on analyzing the physical and geochemical drivers that predict biodiversity patterns. I focused initially on the nematode communities, and my work has now expanded into the bacterial communities, as well," said Barrett, an affiliated faculty member of the Global Change Center, housed within the Fralin Life Science Institute.

Communications - Biology - Paper - Interactions - Community

The Communications Biology paper on biotic interactions considers the entire community of soil organisms: cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, nematodes, and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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